Abolitionism as a philosophy of hope: ‘Inside-outsiders’ and the reclaiming of democracy

Scott, D. (2020). Abolitionism as a philosophy of hope: ‘Inside-outsiders’ and the reclaiming of democracy. In: Henne, K. and Shah, R. eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Public Criminology. London: Routledge.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351066105-31


This chapter discusses some ways that penal abolitionists as “inside-outsiders” can challenge dominant understandings of “crime” and punishment. The chapter has three main parts and starts with a brief consideration of the current limitations of institutionalized education, knowledge production, and dissemination in the neoliberal university and the importance of considering radically alternative ways of organizing public education in the community. This is followed by an exploration of how penal abolitionists as “inside-outsiders” can help facilitate a new critical pedagogy about human conflicts, troubles, and problematic conduct as a “collective organic intellectual” (Giroux, 1988). The chapter then discusses five interventions adopted by the author to illustrate how penal abolitionists can work towards reclaiming democracy through reinvigorating existing or creating alternative forms of knowledge production and public spaces for democratic dialogue. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the importance of connecting abolitionist theory with public participation in democratic debates and the importance of recognizing penal abolition as a future orientated philosophy of hope.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions